Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rumors of my death

greatly exaggerated, but may continue for awhile. I have an eye condition that has forced a cutback in my computer usage, and between that and the extra workload that football season brings blogging has been a casualty. I hope to start up again at some point in the not too distant future, but the relative silence will continue for a few weeks at least. Thanks for the e-mails of concern.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Tales from the front

Curt Loftis spent two days last weekend in Crawford, mingling among the Sheehanoiacs. Here is his fascinating report via Power Line:

I arrived at the original Camp Casey at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was hot and dry and the assembled demonstrators were in a melancholy state. I quickly made friends, stressing "cocktail" conversation, not political discussion. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawford...and being incognito was the only way this would happen.

After bonding with several nice ladies from the central coast of California, I drove with these new buddies to the larger, tented camp where Ms. Sheehan and Company was to be found. There I found a well funded, well orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals complete with the highest quality electronic equipment available. From Satellite trucks and cell phone to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the "message" was there...and being used by left wing, socialist and Marxist (self-described) media representatives and Bloggers.

Most of the Sheehan protesters were either professional (paid staff of Fenton Communications or the radical organization Code Pink or the like), or were long time protesters, some admitting to beginning vigils against the government as early as 1965. I had conversations with approximately 50 of these people over 48 hours, and all seemed like interesting and engaging people. We talked sports, and cars and how wonderful California is, and just about everything that could be discussed without my divulging that I am a conservative. But when "scratched" just a little with some mild political talk, they all responded the same way..."it is America's fault". No matter what the issue, each and every one of them had the same default..."bad things are America's fault".

Toward the end of my time there, I decided to innocently toss into the conversation different issues just to elicit a response. One issue I politely deposited into our talks was of the peasant unrest in rural China, and the brutality shown to the peasants by the government and their hired thugs. There response to this problem was..."well, look how we treated the blacks in America", or, "gays are being beaten every day in America".

So the cliché of the "hate America" crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.

Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the trip...and I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing there...alone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message.

And the message is "All things bad are America's fault."

The end of Sheehanoia as we know it

Looks like Cindy has left the building, or the camp in this case. But not before a climactic weekend that saw her usual supporting cast of pacifists, socialists, America-haters, anarchists, paleocons, unrepentent Marxists, burnout professional protesters and anti-Semites were joined by racial demagogues and a variety of Neo-Nazi groups, the latter no doubt inspired by David Duke’s ringing endorsement of Sheehan and her own anti-Semitic rhetoric. Not to be outdone, the counter protesters, a less interesting group consisting primarily of military parents who support the war on terror and individuals encouraged by radio personalities or web sites, were out in their greatest numbers to date.

After spending a month calling for a second meeting with the president, Cindy is now “very, very, very grateful” that he did not meet with her as it allowed them to “spark and galvanize the peace movement.” Veteran Cindy observers can’t be surprised at this development; doing 180 degree turns vis a vis the president is her specialty. The desire for a meeting was always just a prop anyway; this was all a sophisticated PR campaign from the start.

And it certainly was a very professionally produced, well funded, and media savvy PR campaign that utilized state of the art communications equipment. These guys had their own satellite truck onsite to package and deliver video to TV news organizations and the Internet as well as for the dissemination of press releases. The campaign stayed on message and got its message out (sadly, that message always came down to variations on the theme “America is EVIL!”), even as its lead spokesperson drifted off into the Land of Oz seemingly every day with a series of utterly bizarre statements that grew more incoherent as her celebrity grew, but the mainstream press and television news buried most of it so the effect of Cindy’s loss of rationality was negligible. Fenton is to be congratulated for putting together a very slick PR campaign. The counter protesters in contrast were amateurs, more of the grass roots variety, which is why they got very little coverage other than token notices that they were there and the occasional one liner in a TV report. If you’ve watched any news, you were bombarded with the Fenton message on pretty much a daily basis. The observations of the counter protesters were always pretty hard to find, which leads to the next post.

Maybe I was too harsh

Perhaps I was a bit tough on the "blame global warming" crowd. As Erci Free of Oceanside CO reminds Best of the Web Today, global warming has been wreaking havoc for a long time now:

You are way too cynical and know-nothing in your mockery of RFK2 et al. The flood in Genesis was caused by Global Warming. So was the Johnstown Flood. So was Curt Flood. So were the Ten Plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea.

The Chicago Fire of 1871 was caused by Global Warming. So was the Panic of 1873. So was the Panic of 1837. The bubonic plague too was caused by Global Warming (how could you forget this?). So was the fall of Constantinople (note the parallel with the war in Iraq). And the Red Chinese onslaught across the Yalu River in the Korean War was caused by Global Warming. So was the Normandy Invasion in World War II. So was the Norman Invasion of 1066. And the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and Haley's Comet. And for that matter the Hale-Bopp Comet.

The title weather in "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" was clearly caused by Global Warming. So was the pink snow in "The Cat in the Hat." So was Andersonville Prison during the Civil War. So was the entire Civil War. So was the Amityville Horror. So was the Dunwich Horror. So was the failure of the Colorado Rockies to make it to the World Series every single year that they've been a Major League franchise. So was the failure of any of the three "Matrix" movies starring Keanu Reeves to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

AND GEORGE W'S ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY IN 2000 WAS CAUSED BY GLOBAL WARMING!!! (Why do you think he opposes an end to it, after all?)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Football in September

It was heartening to see the college football season opening last night IN SEPTEMBER, the way God and Knute Rockne intended it to be, for the first time in a couple of decades. Like baseball in March, football in August should be for exhibitions only.

Now if we can just get our schools to open the day after Labor Day, we'd be making some real progress here.